Activism Earth Joy Patriotism
Adversity Environment Just war Peace
Agreement Evil Justice Politics
Allergy   Killing Poverty
Change Facts Law Prison
Character Faith Life Reality
Children Fame Media Science
Compassion Fear Media violence Silence
Conflict Freedom Metric system Spirit
Conscience Guns Militarism Truth
Conscientious objector   Nazis Violence
Courage Ideas Neighbor Virtue
Deterrence Inflation Nonviolence War
Disarmament Integrity Nuclear weapons Welfare
Dissent   Oreos World



Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

- Margaret Mead, 1901-1978

Those who profess to love freedom and yet deprecate agitation are those who want crops without plowing. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be physical, but it must be a struggle.

- Frederick Douglass, 1817?-1895

Before you can be burned out, you have to be lit up.

- Unknown

I would rather lose in a cause which I know someday will triumph than triumph in a cause than I know someday must fail.

- Wendell Wilkie

We can't change the moon but we can live in harmony with its tides, and we can make some ripples of our own.

- Germaine Greer

If you expect to see the final results of your works, you simply have not asked a big enough question.

- Arab proverb

The seed never sees the flower.

- Zen proverb


The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.

- Chinese proverb

Has any man ever attained inner harmony by pondering the experience of others? Not since the world began. He must pass through the fire.

- Norman Douglas

The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; the optimist, the opportunity in every difficulty.

- L. P. Jacks


We rarely find that people have good sense unless they agree with us.

- Francois, Duc de la Rochefoucauld, 1613-1680


The best thing about concrete is that it doesn't pollinate.

- David Michael Kaplan, 1986


Nothing we do changes the past, but everything we do changes the future.

- Unknown

To change minds, move hearts.
To move hearts, tell stories.

- Unknown


It is character that counts in a nation as in a man.

- Theodore Roosevelt, 1858-1919

Character is what you are in the dark.

- Dwight L. Moody

Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.

- Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865

If we had no faults, we should not take so much pleasure in noting those of others.

- Francois, Duc de la Rochefoucauld, 1613-1680

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.

- German proverb


One should be able to say to our children: You are a marvel! You are unique. In all the world, there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed, there has never been another child like you! ... and when you grow up, can you harm another who is, like you, a marvel?

- Pablo Casals, 1876-1973


Fear grows out of the things we think; it lives in our minds.
Compassion grows out of the things we are; it lives in our hearts.

- Michael Garrison

When God measures a man, he puts the tape around the heart instead of the head.

- Unknown

Among the attributes of God, although they are all equal, mercy shines with even more brilliancy than justice.

- Cervantes, 1547-1616

Back to Top


A discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument is an exchange of ignorance.

- Unknown


Conscience is the voice of the soul, as the passions are the voice of the body. No wonder they often contradict each other.

- Jean Jacque Rousseau, 1712-1778

The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it.

- Madame Germaine de StaŽl, 1766-1817

Conscientious objector

The pioneers of a warless world are the young men who refuse military service.

- Albert Einstein, 1879-1955

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.

- John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963


Courage means going against majority opinion in the name of truth.

- Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic

Courage consists not in blindly overlooking danger but in seeing it and conquering it.

- Jean Paul Richter

To see what is right and not to do it, is want of courage.

- Confucius

Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. The one who has love, courage, and wisdom is one in a million, who moves the world, as with Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi.

- Ammon Hennacy (1893 - 1970), self-described Christian anarchist

The courage to die for their beliefs is given only to those who have the courage to live for them.

- Sheila Kennedy


Deterrence failed completely as a guide in setting rational limits on the size and composition of military forces, spurring an insatiable arms race with a reckless proliferation of the most destructive power ever unleashed, tailored for delivery by a vast array of vehicles to a stupefying array of targets.

- Gen. George Lee Butler USAF (ret.), former commander-in-chief of U.S. strategic nuclear forces


We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our children to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm! Disarm!"

- Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910


Originality is expressed in dissent;
and, therefore, science should safeguard dissent.

- Carl-Goren Heden, World Academy of Art and Science, 1987


We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

- Unknown


When trying to inform the public, environmentalists encounter a major difficulty: One hundred scientists speak out on a serious environmental problem. The media listens and then goes out and finds someone with an opposing view to get 'balance.' The story comes out looking like a 50-50 argument, a 50-50 proposition, but it isn't. And the public comes away thinking it has a 50-50 choice. And it hasn't.

- Michael McElroy, atmospheric scientist


The evils of government are directly proportional to tolerance of the people.

- Frank Kent

I shall never know God if I do not wrestle with and against evil, even at the cost of life itself.

- Gandhi, 1869-1948


Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

- Aldous Huxley, 1894-1963


Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark.

- Rabindranath Tagore, 1861-1941


Reputation, honor, fame — what is all that but a breath of air from another person's mouth, no sooner spoken but gone? Thus, whoever finds his delight in them is feeding on wind.

- St. Thomas More, 1478-1535


Fear grows out of the things we think; it lives in our minds.
Compassion grows out of the things we are; it lives in our hearts.

- Michael Garrison

Back to Top


Freedom ... consists in the right to be wrong, but not in the right to do wrong.

- Sydney Harris


The firearms death rate in the United States is eight times greater than those of 25 other developed nations combined.

- Violence Policy Center

If guns made us safe, then America would be the safest country in the world.

- Unknown


Greater than an army with banners is an idea whose time has come.

- Victor Hugo, 1802-1885

Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gentle as doves. Perhaps then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear amid the uproar of empires and nations a faint flutter of wings, a gentle stirring of life and hope.

- Albert Camus, 1913-1960

Why are we so designed that the stomach will generally eject and throw up what is bad for it, while the mind gratefully absorbs the most poisonous ideas?

- Sydney Harris


Inflation hasn't ruined everything. A dime can still be used as a screwdriver.

- Unknown


[Y]our task is larger than yourself. If you choose, just by virtue of being a decent person, you are entrusted with passing on something of value through a dark, crazy time — preserving your integrity, in your way, by your acts and your very breathing for those who will build again when this chaos exhausts itself. People who assume the burden of their own integrity are free — because integrity is freedom, and (as Nelson Mandela proved) its force can't be quelled even when a person of integrity is jailed. The future lives in our individual, often lonely, and certainly unprofitable acts of integrity, or it doesn't live at all.

- Michael Ventura


I am filled with joy. ... I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.

- Anne Frank, 1929-1945

Just war

The just war theory should be filed in the same drawer that contains the flat earth theory.

- Bishop Carroll Dozier


Justice will not come ... until those who are not injured are as indignant as those who are.

- Thucydides, 5th century B.C.


The military and law enforcement community have made killing a conditioned response. ... The trainees have only a split second to engage the target. The conditioned response is to shoot the target, and then it drops. ... [E]very time a child plays an interactive point-and-shoot video game, he is learning the exact same conditioned reflex and motor skills.

- Lt. Col. David Grossman, U.S. Army (retired), author and expert on the psychology of killing

Whoever kills, dies himself

- Gustav Landauer, 1870-1919, was a German Jewish poet, mystic, and nonviolent revolutionary. Following the First World War, which he opposed, he briefly served in Munich as minister of education in a short-lived revolutionary republic. On May 2, 1919, he was arrested by German troops and beaten to death.

To kill a citizen of our own country is evil, but to kill a citizen of another country is 'good.'

- Edgar Mitchell, U.S. astronaut

Morally it makes no difference whether a person is killed in war or condemned to starve by the indifference of others.

- Willy Brandt, 1913-1992


An unjust law in itself is an act of violence.

- Gandhi, 1869-1948


I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

- Unknown

I was raised to believe in the innate goodness of humanity, developed a deep sense of the dignity of the individual human being, and had great appreciation for the miracle of life and our existence on this earth.

- Gen. George Lee Butler, former commander of U.S. nuclear forces, on his conversion from nuclear warrior to nuclear abolitionist

So if you really want to help this world, what you will have to teach is how to live in it. And that no one can do who has not himself learned how to live in it in the joyful sorrow and sorrowful joy of the knowledge of life as it is.

- Joseph Campbell, 1904-1987

Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in the hands of God, so let us celebrate the struggle.

- Swahili song

I set before you life and death, a blessing and a curse. Choose life, that you and your children may live.

- Deuteronomy 30:19

Back to Top


Little of the quiet goodness of life appears in the highly condensed and deliberately dramatic radio and television newscasts. Those who depend on such sources alone for their understanding of the world's events will find little to nourish their sense of the positive and loving in mankind.

- C. Gilbert Wrenn, 1985

Media violence

Today the data linking violence in the media to violence in society are superior to those linking cancer and tobacco.

- Lt. Col. David Grossman, U.S. Army (retired), author and expert on the psychology of killing

The worst product your child is going to get from the networks is represented by one TV commentator who told me, "Well, we only have one really violent show on our network, and that is NYPD Blue. I'll admit that that is bad, but it is only one night a week." I wondered at the time how she would feel if someone said, "Well, I only beat my wife in front of the kids one night a week." The effect is the same.

- Lt. Col. David Grossman, U.S. Army (retired)

A CBS executive told me his plan. He knows all about the link between media and violence. His own in-house people have advised him to protect his child from the poison his industry is bringing to America's children. He is not going to expose his child to TV until she's old enough to learn how to read. And then he will select very carefully what she sees. He and his wife plan to send her to a daycare center that has no television, and he plans to show her only age-appropriate videos. That should be the bare minimum with children: Show them only age-appropriate videos, and think hard about what is age appropriate.

- Lt. Col. David Grossman, U.S. Army (retired)

Metric system

Nobody in the United States knows what either a "meter" or a "kilogram" is. The whole reason why we fought the Cold War was so we wouldn't have to learn the metric system.

- Dave Barry


"I would no more teach children military training than teach them arson or robbery or assassination."

- Eugene V. Debs, 1855-1926

Eugene V. Debs was a Socialist candidate for president in 1902-1912. He was arrested in 1918 in Canton, Ohio, for a speech opposing World War I and sentenced to 10 years in prison for his belief in pacifism. While in prison, he ran for president again in 1920 and received almost a million votes. His sentence was commuted in 1921.

For each of the 800 million persons on this planet who are chronically malnourished, the nations of the earth annually spend more than $1000 in arms and armaments.


The most frightening thing is not that the Nazis were inhuman. The most frightening thing is that they were human — like you and me.

- Toivi (Thomas) Blatt, Polish Jewish survivor of the revolt and escape from Sobibor death camp


Just as we accept that our neighbor's face does not resemble ours, so we must accept that our neighbor's views do not resemble ours.

- Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

If we were able to see God's image in our neighbor, do you think weapons and generals would be needed?

- Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 1910-1997

We can't look up to God and down on people.

- Unknown


The first thing to be disrupted by our commitment to nonviolence will be, not the system, but our own lives.

- Jim Douglass

If we remain nonviolent, hatred will die as everything does from disuse.

- Gandhi, 1869-1948

Back to Top

Nuclear weapons

If you are religious, then remember that this bomb is man's challenge to God. It's worded quite simply: We have the power to destroy everything you have created.

If you're not religious, then look at it this way. This world of ours is four thousand, six hundred million years old. It could end in an afternoon.

- Arundhati Roy

Nuclear weapons production and testing has involved extensive health and environmental damage …. One of the most remarkable features of this damage has been the readiness of governments to harm the very people that they claimed they were protecting by building these weapons for national security reasons. In general, this harm was inflicted on people in disregard of democratic norms. Secrecy, fabrication of data, cover-ups in the face of attempted public inquiry, and even human experiments without informed consent have all occurred in nuclear weapons production and testing programs.

- Arjun Makhijani, President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

[A] new generation, innocent of the divisions of the Cold War, this coming-of-age. ... If its members do not feel the urgency to escape the nuclear danger that some of its parents felt, neither has it developed the deep attachment to nuclear arms also often found among their parents, including most of the governing class. ... The call for abolition should therefore be, among other things, a call from an older generation to younger one.

- Jonathan Schell

Nuclear weapons play on our deepest fears and pander to our darkest instincts. They corrode our sense of humanity, numb our capacity for moral outrage, and make thinkable the unimaginable. They prey on democracies and totalitarian societies alike, shrinking the norms of civilized behavior and dimming the prospects for escaping the savagery so powerfully imprinted on our genetic code.

- Gen. George Lee Butler USAF (ret.), Commander-in-chief, U.S. strategic nuclear forces

The use of a mere dozen nuclear weapons ... would be a human catastrophe without parallel. ... Because so few weapons can kill so many people, even far-reaching disarmament proposals would leave us implicated in plans for unprecedented slaughter of innocent people. The sole measure that can free us from this burden is abolition.

-Jonathan Schell

[W]eapons that would only make the rubble bounce do not count as capability.

- Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" and "Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb."

The nuclear arms race is like two people sitting in a pool of gasoline spending all their time making matches.

- John Denver, 1959-1997

During World War II, the Nazis put their victims into gas chambers and then incinerated them in ovens. While the Nazis took their victims to the incinerators, those who possess and threaten to use nuclear weapons plan to take these weapons — these portable incinerators — to the victims.

- David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

The proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used — accidentally or by decision — defies credibility. The only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons and assurance that they will never be produced again.

- Canberra Commission

It is a measure of the arrogance of nations — but especially of the nuclear-weapon states — to assert that a nuclear-weapons-free world is impossible when, in fact, ninety-five percent of the nations of the world already are nuclear free.

- Gen. George Lee Butler

People who say to me that the elimination of nuclear weapons is utopian have somehow managed to completely ignore the fact that the end of the Cold War was a far more utopian prospect only ten years ago than eliminating nuclear weapons is now.

- Gen. George Lee Butler

Of course, some will say the goal [of abolition] is a utopian dream of human perfection. We needn't worry. There will be more than enough sins left for everyone to commit after we have taken nuclear bombs away from ourselves.

- Jonathan Schell

[I]t is tragic that the forces for destruction that we unleashed are stronger than man's present ability to control them ...

- Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves, U.S. Army, head of the Manhattan Project, 1896-1970


Never lick an envelope while eating Oreos.

- Unknown


The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?

- Pablo Casals, 1876-1973


Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace, to be real, must be unaffected by outside circumstances.

- Gandhi, 1869-1948

Those of us who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.

- Martin Luther King Jr., 1929-1968

"Arms alone are not enough to keep the peace; it must be kept by men."

- John F. Kennedy

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.

- St. Francis of Assisi, 1181?-1226

The powerful bless the status quo and call it "peace." The powerless protest the status quo and are imprisoned for "disturbing the peace."

- Jim Stoffels

Back to Top


Political struggle is the most important thing any of us can do as a citizen in a democracy; and that means the old joining the young to fight for elemental kinds of justice.

- Jonathan Kozol

The politician thinks of the next election; a statesman, of the next generation.

- J. F. Clarke

No, it is not easy to grasp that the only way to suffer less is to love more, especially in politics. At the risk of seeming weaker. Yes, at the risk of seeming weaker I shall not build an atomic bomb, I shall not give my enemy a whack in the eye to show that I am stronger, I shall not make war, I shall not squash my tomatoes and apples with a tractor to keep the price up, I shall not destroy forests to build factories, I shall not poison the sea.

If love is the rule of my politics and the thrust of my action, yes, I really shall suffer less and I shall cause less suffering in others . . .

- Carlo Carretto


Even after eight years of uninterrupted economic growth, one in five American children is growing up poor. Child poverty is more widespread in this country than in any other developed nation.

- NPR's "All Things Considered"

We have indigestion from overeating, yet our neighbors starve.

- Carlo Carretto

The rich are those with few wants. The poor are those with many wants.

- Unknown


Building prisons to fight crime is like building cemeteries to fight disease.

- Jack Levin, Northeastern University


Nothing is so easy as to deceive oneself; for what we wish, that we readily believe.

- Demosthenes, 384?-322 BC


A little science estranges men from God, but much science leads them back to him.

- Louis Pasteur, 1822-1895


Silence is one of the greatest teachers we have.

- Richard Buck, Wanapum tribe, 2000

Listen, or your tongue will keep you deaf.

- Native American proverb


There are only two powers in the world the power of the sword and the power of the spirit. In the long run, the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.

- Napoleon Bonaparte

I used to see us as human beings on a spiritual journey.
Now I see us as spiritual beings on a human journey.

- Sheila Morgan


Making the truth public is a form of justice. This is a moral universe and you've got to take account of the fact that truth and lies and goodness and evil are things that matter.

- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chairman, South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Violence is the weapon of the weak.

- Rev. Ralph Abernathy

When young children see somebody shot, stabbed, raped, brutalized, degraded, or murdered on TV, to them it is as though it were actually happening. To have a child of three, four, or five watch a "splatter" movie, learning to relate to a character for the first 90 minutes and then in the last 30 minutes watch helplessly as that new friend is hunted and brutally murdered is the moral and psychological equivalent of introducing your child to a friend, letting her play with that friend, and then butchering that friend in front of your child's eyes. And this happens to our children hundreds upon hundreds of times.

- Lt. Col. David Grossman, U.S. Army (retired), author and expert on the psychology of killing

Violence is not a game; it's not fun, it's not something that we do for entertainment. Violence kills. Every parent in America desperately needs to be warned of the impact of TV and other violent media on children, just as we would warn them of some widespread carcinogen.

- Lt. Col. David Grossman, U.S. Army (retired)

Without question, the 20th-century has been a century of the greatest advancement man has known. The sad part is that we still are no further along than when we came out of the caves and bashed each other on the head to settle an argument. Whether it's between two people on a Manhattan street or nations going to war, we still kill each other. How can we claim civilization has made any progress if, despite the greatest art and mechanical marvels, we can't dispense with murder as a final argument? So I am disappointed that we haven't done anything about that. My hope for the 21st century would be permanent peace.

- Walter Cronkite


Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.

- David Starr Jordan

Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. The one who has love, courage, and wisdom is one in a million, who moves the world, as with Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi.

- Ammon Hennacy (1893 - 1970), self-described Christian anarchist

Back to Top


War is a coward's escape from the problems of peace.

- Thomas Mann

Today, the scale and horror of modern warfare — whether nuclear or not — makes it totally unacceptable as a means of settling differences between nations. War should belong to the tragic past, to history; it should find no place on humanity's agenda for the future.

- Pope John Paul II

Wars, conflict, it's all business. One murder makes a villain, millions a hero. Numbers sanctify.

- Charlie Chaplin, 1889-1977

War, and the preparation for war, are the two greatest obstacles to human progress, fostering a vicious cycle of arms buildups, violence and poverty.

- Oscar Arias Sanchez, former president of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace Prize 1987

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.

- John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963

In the event of a nuclear war, no historian will be able to tell the ashes of capitalism from the ashes of communism.

- Russell Petersen, National Audobon Society and former governor of Delaware, 1987


By pretending that lower welfare rolls equate with fewer people in poverty, the welfare "reform" act of 1996 has provided Americans with an additional curtain to shield them from the sight and condition of the poor.

- Arthur Jones, editor-at-large, National Catholic Reporter


The world would become better off if people tried to become better.
And people would become better if they stopped trying to become better off.

- Peter Maurin, 1877-1949, co-founder with Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker movement.

It may be that, when we get to the next world, we will be judged on how well we took care of this world.

- Unknown

Back to Top